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The Icehouse and Visa take business workshops to new regions

14 July 2014

The Icehouse and Visa take business workshops out to new regions

New Zealand’s leading business growth hub, The Icehouse, is pleased to announce the expansion of its topic-specific workshops into additional regions, thanks to support from BNZ and global payments technology company, Visa.

Visa joins primary sponsor, BNZ in supporting The Icehouse’s series of short, topic-specific workshops, designed to get New Zealand GDP back into the top half of the OECD. The workshops, launched earlier this year, have been incredibly well received by small and medium business owners.

Visa’s support has enabled The Icehouse to expand the reach of the workshops allowing many more New Zealand businesses to benefit from the specific business and growth skills offered.

The Icehouse’s goal is to lift the competitiveness of the SME sector, and this new collaboration with Visa is aimed at doing just that, says The Icehouse CEO Andy Hamilton.

“The support of companies like Visa enables us to work with thousands of Kiwi businesses to help them grow through the roll-out of our offerings into more regions in New Zealand. We are grateful to BNZ for creating this opportunity and Visa for sharing our aspiration for Kiwi business,” says Andy.

The Icehouse has already helped over 5,000 ambitious business owners – from start-ups to small owner-managed businesses to multi-million dollar companies – and 76% of these have gone on to experience positive growth and on average profit has tripled every four years. And the company has ambitious goals for the future. By the year 2020 The Icehouse aims to have been instrumental in the creation of 1,000 business of international quality and 25,000 new jobs in NZ.

This year, The Icehouse is launching a new range of nationwide events and workshops to connect with even more business owners across the country. Visa saw this as a way to connect with the NZ small business community and so jumped at the opportunity to work with The Icehouse.

Caroline Ada, Country Manager for Visa, says supporting The Icehouse’s goals and the SME sector is key to both the country and Visa itself.

“We believe the SME economy is a significant sector with great potential for New Zealand. Supporting The Icehouse, alongside BNZ, is an opportunity for Visa to back the next generation of great Kiwi innovators. We are delighted to help Kiwi business owners access additional expertise, advice and knowledge through The Icehouse in order to achieve their goals,” says Caroline.

BNZ head of small business, Harry Ferreira says research BNZ conducted earlier this year showed that while SME owners are aware of the skills they need to improve in order to grow their businesses, many are not resourced to stop working the business and up-skill.

“A total of 78% of SME business owners told us they want more access to experts or consultants within a specific area of business.

“These topic-specific workshops were designed to deliver that expertise to business owners across the country quickly and effectively and in a manner that can be applied directly to their businesses.”

The Icehouse is bringing its new workshops and events to 10 regions across New Zealand and aims to have over 2,500 workshop and event participants by the end of 2015. This year, there are over 20 different workshop topics in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hawke's Bay, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Wellington.

To find out more about The Icehouse workshops visit: theicehouse.co.nz/workshops

About The Icehouse
The Icehouse is where kiwi businesses grow. We are focused on supporting owner-managers and entrepreneurs who will shape the future of New Zealand’s economy. Through our nationwide events, workshops and programmes we give startups and SMEs access to the expertise, networks and funding they need to achieve their growth aspirations and become Businesses of International Quality (BIQ).

We are committed to changing the entrepreneurial landscape in New Zealand to create an environment that inspires, supports and celebrates business growth. Our goal is to lift the international competitiveness of the NZ SME sector leading to a material impact on the economic performance of New Zealand over the long term.

Since 2001 we have worked with over 5,000 ambitious owner-managers – from startups to small owner-managed businesses to multi-million dollar companies. 76% of the SMEs we work with achieve business growth. The startups we've worked with have collectively created over 900 jobs and raised more than $117m in funding.

The Icehouse is owned by a not-for-profit trust and is backed by the financial support and expertise of the University of Auckland Business School, BNZ, NZTE, Telecom, Gen-I, HP, KPMG, JBWere, AJ Park and now Visa.

For more information visit www.theicehouse.co.nz

ENDS

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